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Pope Saint John Paul II and the Holy Rosary: ​​weapon against evils

“Love Our Lady and pray the Rosary, because her Rosary is the weapon against the evils of today’s world. All the graces given by God pass through the Blessed Mother. – Saint Padre Pio

Pope Saint John Paul II undoubtedly heeded the words of Saint Padre Pio, not only based on our knowledge of his daily Rosary, but on the myriad other things he did to bring devotion to Our Lady and the “weapon” she gave us.

The pope is often placed in a very difficult position, one that strives to bring people to Christ through relevant societal issues, while at the same time avoiding the temptation to root himself in culture. Pope Saint John Paul II struck a very fine balance in reaching people where they were and inviting them to grow in personal holiness through the Rosary.

Whether it was the Cold War, the 9/11 terrorist attacks, or the war on the family, he maintained an unwavering and refreshing faith in the Rosary and its powerful reach. He would encourage us to pray for peace, for solutions, for hope and for love in all encounters. And when we ask for noble things, Our Lady is always able to go to Our Lord in our place and we know that Jesus loves his mother too much to say no. As Saint Maximilian Kolbe said: “Never be afraid to love the Blessed Virgin too much. You can never love him more than Jesus did.

And what better way to holiness than by imitating those who have gone before us? Saint John Paul II had special devotions for Padre Pio, Louis de Montfort, and Jacinta and Francisco Marto – two of the children of Fatima whom he himself canonized – all of whom were devoted champions of the Holy Rosary. At Fatima, Our Lady expressed her desire for daily rosaries and Saint John Paul II did not plan to disappoint the Mother of God. He said that this campaign must be taken up not only by our generation but by all future generations, for the salvation of all.

May 13e, 1981, the feast of Our Lady of Fatima, Pope Saint John Paul II was pushing his way through the crowd in St. Peter’s Square when suddenly the sound of gunfire rang out. Turkish assassin Ali Agca fired a total of four shots, two of which hit two passers-by and two hit the Holy Father. One was a flesh wound, hitting his left hand. The other hit him in the center of mass. As they rushed him to the hospital, it looked like a fatal injury.

But it was not his time. The bullet had missed his vital organs and arteries by fractions of an inch; by his own account, a miraculous event. “It was a mother’s hand that guided the path of the ball.” One finger pressed the trigger and another guided the bullet. Pope John Paul II, crediting Our Lady of Fatima with his survival, finally visited his would-be killer in prison and pardoned him face to face.

In 2002, in his apostolic letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae, Pope John Paul II instituted the five Luminous Mysteries of the Holy Rosary to celebrate the light of God as manifested through the life of Jesus: the Baptism of Jesus, the Wedding at Cana, the Proclamation of the Kingdom, the Transfiguration and the Institution of the Eucharist. His devotion to Our Lady was endless and he said the rosary is “among the finest and most praiseworthy traditions of Christian contemplation”.

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